If you’ve spent even a few days working in the foodservice industry – anywhere from a restaurant, to aged care to catering – you’ll know the importance (and scarcity) of three things: Time, Money, and Storage. So many of the challenges in hospitality arise from a lack of these three things. It may be a rushed dinner service because you didn’t have time to prep after lunch or perhaps an undersupply of popular products because you just don’t have the freezer or shelf space to store them.
Any foodservice professional worth their salt is always looking for ways to save time, money, and storage (without compromising on the quality of diners’ experience), and it can sometimes be a battle to balance all three.
What many savvy industry leaders learn is that how (and what) you order when it comes time do inventory can have a huge impact on, not only your bottom line but also how much time and space you have leftover at the end of each day. Here’s how to leverage a little more of those three all important things into your service…
It may sound too easy, but many foodservice operators still don’t quite manage this one simple thing: order in bulk. Too many times we hear venues have had to send someone out to the local supermarket in the middle of service to buy up whatever it is that has run out that day.
Ordering from distributors is a no-brainer when it comes to saving money as you can buy most of your ingredients in one place, in large quantities to take advantage of savings. And when we say in bulk we don’t mean hoarding items in the back of the walk-in like doomsday-preppers. We mean planning and just buying enough to take advantage of the cost-savings and getting them delivered to your door, so you don’t have to send valuable cooks out on errands (which costs you money too!) to end up with 50 individual small cans of beans.
Of course, buying in bulk brings up the issue of a lack of storage (remember those three challenges we’re balancing?). You can’t buy so much that your kitchen is too full to move around freely. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a huge state-of-the-art kitchen; we know that. So you consider looking for products that take up less space but provide the same end product. For example, items that you usually buy in large cans like artichokes and sundried tomatoes come with considerable amounts of water or oil that may eventually become waste. That takes up valuable shelf space. And then, what many don’t consider is the valuable bin space after they’ve been used. Cans don’t crush as well as we want them to!
You could consider products like our pouch packs that save on valuable storage space by reducing the amount of liquid and maintaining the amount of product. They’re designed to be ripped open when needed and don’t take up as much space on shelves as cans, for example. Plus, when you’re done with them, you can quickly compact them, leaving more space in your bin.
Frozen goods are another way to explore saving storage if your dry and cooler storage spaces leave something to be desired. Many products can be safely frozen and thawed when needed to cater to fluctuations in demand. Talk to your distributor today about what you could swap to frozen.
Now to the final piece of the puzzle – time. Probably the most difficult to of the three to recoup. Of course, you can buy expensive equipment that will save you lots of time, but perhaps your venue can’t afford to splash out, or it doesn’t have the space (there are those money and storage issues potentially rearing their ugly heads again). The way you order can have a huge impact on how much time each meal takes to prep. For example, buying pre-sliced bread and vegetables can free up far more time when you’re in a hurry. Par-boiled rice is another perfect example of time-saving ordering.
Another aspect many chefs may not consider is the packaging itself. It takes you valuable time to open a can, for example. You’ve got to find the can opener, then rush to open it (how many times has someone in your kitchen hurt their fingers doing that?). We sell products in cans of course, but many of our customers are moving to our pouch packs to save the can-opening headaches. They just rip them open and use them as they need. Ready in seconds.
There are many products on the market that allow chefs to save time, money or storage space. Of course, products that save all three are even better. If you’re looking to enhance your ordering and reduce some of hospo’s biggest challenges in your kitchen, get in touch, and we can talk through your options. And if you’ve got a foodservice hack that you swear by to save yourself time, money or space – hit us up on our Facebook page.